Help! Save Me!

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» June 12, 2023
Not Another Religious Tract Dissection by Boolean Union Studios

Help! Save Me!
Help! Save Me!
- (SAVE)
Art by Ron Wheeler - © 2022 Cartoon Works


First Published: January 8th, 2011


"Help! Save Me!" is a Ron Wheeler tract that tries to convince people to allow themselves to be saved. Unlike Chick, Wheeler has a light touch, and uses humor to make his points, rather than images of Hell. He's like the preacher who carries an acoustic guitar, vs Jack Chick's fire-n-brimstone revivalist.


CommentatorsCommentators

  Jessica   Andrew  

Jessica

 

Andrew

 

Page Index
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Commentators Jessica Andrew

o Introduction

AndrewAndrew There’s more to the world of religious propaganda than Chick and The Truth for Youth! Ron Wheeler has been churning out little cartoon tracts for years. They’re not as offensive as Chick’s work, but rather tend to take a very cutesy approach to saving souls. They’re still pretty dumb.
   

 

oPage 1

Page 1 AndrewAndrew Is it just me, or does this look an awful lot like Ziggy?
   
JessicaJessica That fish looks on in total apathy. Completely unconcerned for the plight of our poor drowning victim here. I've heard that some animals sit around all day and think of murder, but this is just cold.

   
   

 

o Page 2

Page 2 AndrewAndrew Uh oh, I smell a bad metaphor working its way to the surface.
   
JessicaJessica Kind of like a fart in a swimming pool when you think about it.
   
AndrewAndrew Ok, I know this is a parable, and parables don’t always (or usually) make literal sense. But really? Their ship went down, and there were only two survivors, both brothers? A dinghy? A boat? No, a ship. The word implies a larger craft. And nobody cares about any other survivors.
   
JessicaJessica Maybe this is the after-math of the ship sinking in The Castaways. Perhaps while this is taking place Jack and Rosa are arguing over the fate of their accidental love child.

Or maybe this is all just really friggin' stupid.

 

o Page 3

Page 3 AndrewAndrew Ok, now we can get a good sense of where this is going. It’s a stupid metaphor for salvation by Jesus.
   
JessicaJessica This metaphor does begin to break down on a narrative level when you scrutinize it at all.
   
AndrewAndrew What does how good you are have to do with this?

Thank you. The fact is that being pulled from the ocean and being “saved” by Jesus are two very different things.
   
JessicaJessica We've touched on this in other tracts. Religious nut-jobs always like to pimp how accepting Jesus' love gift (shudder) is FREE!!! Like, all you have to do is accept it! It's just that easy!

The reality is that so-called "salvation" in their belief system has a lot more baggage attached to it than they like to let on. You have to go to church (or rather, you have to WANT to go to church), you have to tithe a certain percentage of your money when at said church, you have to go out and try to convert others to your religion, you have to abstain from certain activities both to theoretically protect yourself and not cause one's brethren to "stumble"

 

o Page 4

Page 4 Andrew AndrewYeah, we’re still going with this thing. You can almost hear Ron Wheeler in the background saying, “do ya get it? do ya get it? doyagetit? huhuhuh?”

Ok, lets deal with the stupid constraints Wheeler has put on us. “There are no other boats.” But what if there were, since this is a ship that went down, presumably with large loss of life? Then the brother would have more than one potential means of salvation. Of course, that would really blow a hole in the parable, wouldn’t it?
   
Jessica JessicaYeah, what if the S.S. Mithras, or the H.M.S. Ahura Mazda comes sailing by. What if this is a major shipping route for savior-themed maritime commerce? They have to have been there for a reason in the first place. What then, smart-ass?

"I think he's delirious." Pot, meet kettle. The captain also appears to be getting bored with all of this already. I can't say I blame him.

 

o Page 5

Page 5 Andrew AndrewAnd now we continue on with our odd juxtaposition of “being saved” and spiritual salvation via Christ. Does it sound crazy? Of course it does, because there aren’t really any similarities between the two situations. Anybody can know when they are in danger of drowning in deep water, but if you are, say, a member of an uncontacted tribe, it takes a nosy Christian to tell you that you are going to hell (a place you’ve never heard of) unless you embrace Jesus (a person you’ve never heard of) and all this is done because of some weird arrangement by the Christian God (who you don’t believe in).
   
Jessica JessicaThis drowning guy is supposed to be a strawman atheist, just like the ones that show up in every other tract we've reviewed. But this one is even worse. This is a METAPHORICAL strawman atheist. He's being smug about something completely unrelated to anything of consequence. "I don't believe in drowning." That's completely stupid. You know why? We've seen countless people drown! There is a clear, discernable line between cause and effect here. You know what we haven't seen? Anyone ever go to Hell... those back from Hell people not withstanding.
   
Andrew AndrewWhy would anyone reject a free gift of being saved?

Two reasons: first, if one doesn’t accept that there is anything to get saved from or by. Two- that salvation isn’t free. Being Christian requires that one actually do specific things other than merely believe in salvation by an invisible being. A religion that doesn’t require anything of its members is no religion at all, and Christianity certainly doesn’t have that particular problem.

 

o Page 6

Page 6 Andrew AndrewDrowning in our sins. Again, this assumes we accept the idea that we are all terrible sinners, and there’s nothing we can do about it. There are other religions that suggest all people are good, but can become bad, or that they are neutral and can go either way, or a variety of different things.

“We cannot earn it with our good behavior”- judging by some of the other tracts, this is a major hobbyhorse of Ken’s. Usually formulated like so: “You need to be perfect to get into heaven.” “Gasp! I’m not perfect, nobody is!” “But Jesus is perfect, so ishkabibl, highfalutin, whargarbbl, SALVATION!”
   
Jessica JessicaThe really ridiculous thing about all of this, despite that comment about "so that no one can boast" is that there is still this whole system of reward in Heaven. There's mention of people being given crowns for things they've done, and certain people being "least in the Kingdom of Heaven." If everybody is equal and everybody just gets saved to the same degree merely by faith then how does all of this work.

Christians want their cake and to eat it too. They want to say you get saved just by "believing on Jesus" and accepting his "love gift" (there's that term again) but at the same time spout off about how "faith without works is dead" out of the other side of their mouths. I am sure the bible has something to say about hypocrites in there.

 

o Page 7

Page 7 Andrew Andrew Let’s get ready for WOOOOORDS!

“The Bible says there is only one way to be saved.” That’s great, provided we accept the truth of the Bible at all. If we don’t then there’s not a lot to go on.
   
Jessica JessicaYep! All you need to do is stop doing things your own way, and instead do it the way some preacher tells you to do it.

There's good old John 3:16 again. A lot of Christians really are one trick ponies when it comes to backing themselves up with scripture.

 

o Page 8

Page 8 Andrew AndrewOh, and here’s our happy ending. Ironically, the brother appears to have saved himself, without the help of the sailors (who are, I guess, Christians, or something, in this metaphor).
   
Jessica JessicaThey just pissed all over their own metaphor! The whole idea was that you can't save yourself, but instead need someone else to do it for you. Then we see the asshat just pull himself up. They also don't really believe that you get to change your mind once you "drown." which always seemed kind of petty and vindictive of the Christian god to me.
   
Andrew AndrewI love the “mail in rebate” thing. Where are you supposed to send it, anyway? And who would care?
   
Jessica JessicaYeah, this is something Chick does at the end of each of his comics as well. He also tries to shill some of his other products at the same time.

I have to wonder if they expect you to wander down to the nearest church (of their denomination, of course) and just hand it to some minister. Like, "Here you go! I signed the contract. Juice me up!" Or are you supposed to email it to Good News Publishers? That would get really irritating after a while. I don't think they really realize how pervasive these things can circulate around. Your company could have gone out of business years ago, and you're still getting little tabs of paper from random dipshits who are all like "I accepted Jesus. Now send me my free shit!" Sounds a bit like Hell to me, actually.

 

o Conclusion

Jessica JessicaWell, that was completely nonsensical and unsatisfying beyond description. Wheeler's tracts certainly lack the panache and "Bat-Shit Insanity" of some of Jack Chick's greatest hits. Even Tim Todd, who looks like Andrew Dice Clay next to Chick, makes this guy look like a 15 year reunion of the cast of Growing Pains starring Kirk Cameron as himself.
   
Andrew AndrewIndeed, as I said above, this isn't as hard-hitting as the products of Jack Chick's engine of intolerance. Still, I think it's funny in its own way, as it tries its hardest to create a suitable metaphor to express just how badly people need to be saved, and yet still manages to flub it. I don't know, maybe there's somebody somewhere who would be convinced by this tract and then mail in their rebate, but this person, if they exist, probably isn't the most critical thinker.

 

o Further Reading